JONGHYUN – THE COLLECTION: ‘STORY OP.2’
Jonghyun unleashes his second compilation album, ‘The Collection: Story Op.2.’ This album contains 10 tracks, including five from his time on the ‘Blue Night’ broadcasts, and another five that are brand new. The Blue Night ones have been remastered before theofficial release. The SHINee singer wrote, composed and arranged all these himself, with a little help from production teams such as MonoTree, SCORE, and others.
The title track is “Lonely,” a quiet ballad, featuring Girls’ Generation leader Taeyeon. They do a beautiful job of creating the emotion of isolation and heartache. They do it tenderly, one manufacturing the expectation that something else will happen, and then the other singer joins the mix. I think one of the best parts of the song is when they match each others’ timbres and duet together — no longer lonely.
Some of the best songs on here are the ones that are completely stripped down, with a naked guitar and naked voice, like “1000.” It is here that Jonghyun’s vocals work their magic, and making it completely acoustic was one his best decisions yet. There’s a sense of rawness here, some emotions that come shining through without much hesitation.
“Just Chill” is a holdover from his time on the radioand one of the better tunes on the disc. It has that RB sound that he established on ‘She is,’ and gives you a definite warm feeling. The beats keep your attention, while Jonghyun wraps his vocals around the song. He hits all his trademark notes here, including the falsetto that characterizes much of his work.
The slow-burner “Blinking Game” is an RB ballad, and definitely has some of that jazzy torch-singer vibe. He tenderly describes how he wants to challenge a pretty girl to a staring contest. He, of course, does this far more tenderly that I can describe it. The piano flourishes help make this tuneand give some added punch to the end. I haven’t heard him morph his voice quite this way, and we can add just another notch to how talented he is.
“Let Me Out” is probably one of the strangest yet strongest tunes on this LP. It starts out slightly creepyand gives you the chillsbefore Jonghyun launches into a sort of sinister rendition. It almost seems like he’s holding something back, and when the melody gets harder it doesn’t abuse one of this notion. The song proceeds to take on an even darker tone, becoming some bizarre fusion of jazz and industrial, and he finally lets it out in a single, fiery, falsetto note. This is an intense tune that takes hold of youand doesn’t let up until the end. It also is unlike anything else on the LP.
“Our Season” is the final track on the album, and worthy of mention simply by how split it is. The first part is sung fairly normally, using his normal register. Then Jonghyun launches into falsetto, and the effect is somewhat unsettling, almost like he’s two different singers, singing to himself. It used to be known as “Warm Winter” before the remaster. It does kind of let you down easyand leaves you with a warm feeling.
The bulk of the album is ballads. Probably should have warned you before now, but for longtime fans, this is the album they’ve been waiting for. He’s left the ‘Blue Night’ radio show for now, to focus on activities with SHINee as well as his solo career, so I’m not sure if we’ll see another of these albums or not. They’re a brilliant showcase, almost a look into the soul of the man. This is one of those albums you put on to chillaxbecause that’s the general vibe of the LP. Curl up by the fire, open a book, cue this up, and you’re set.
Poor Jonghyun goes through his days, completely alone. Each day, he draws yet another mark on his arm. He eats, plays piano, cuts the shrubs only for himself, completely alone. There’s no one there to sit with him, to talk with him, to listen to records with him, no one.
The isolation is palpable in this MV, though there are some scenes where adding Taeyeon would have helped, at least a fleeting ghost image who sings her part and then vanishes again when he reaches for her. It’s a tad strange when we can hear her voice but not see her at all.
The video takes a dark turn, when he’s clothed in stripes, apparently imprisoned by the memory of his lost love. Further, when he’s in the bath, arms crisscrossed by hash marks, a stark reminder how many days she’s been gone. The scene almost looks like he’s going to slit his wrists rather than merely bathe. A testament to the poignancy of the MV.
The MV reaches its denouement quietly, as it draws all these scenes together, playing one after the other in a review of where we’ve been. Jonghyun wears a sad, puppy-dog face through all of it, and it finally ends when he sinks listlessly into the bath, and we see him on the beach, wind blowing through his hair as the waves roll in.
It’s a powerful MVand not one to watch if you want to lift your mood. If you want to get your feels out, then watch this one. Just make sure to keep the tissues handy. You’re going to need them after this.
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